Friday, March 14, 2014

Slowing Down

"Bonnie's Dogs" - Watercolor

I've been meaning to do this portrait of my friend's Boxer dogs for a very long time and I could finally get to it.  This painting is the last on my "To Do" list in a long line of commitments I put myself in - why do I do it?   My dear friend has been going through sad times and I thought mailing this to her would surprise and cheer her up!

The painting is done in transparent watercolor with layers of washes, unlike my usual mixing of watercolor and liquid acrylics to get that quick saturation of colors. Getting a little experimental, I used non-local colors in the dogs jowls with a bit of green and red for the side-glancing dog on the left, and purple and blue for the sweety on the right. I'm taking what I've learned from Mr. Nuttall, and that is to be very patient, to look carefully and analytically, and to paint very slowly and deliberately.  His art looks so spontaneous and free, but surprisingly, it is not. Rather, he paints in a very carefully, controlled manner, and he may spend at most 2 hours a day on a single painting. This means a watercolor painting could take weeks to complete. My boxer painting  is only 6.5" x 8" and it only took me 4 hours to complete.  After blazing through a lot of mail art- where you must edit and be quick, I think I could have done this portrait better had I slowed down even further by abstracting every miniscule detail.  

I have a lot of old family black and white photos that will be perfect to use as painting references.  It'll force me to find my own colors and expression. I have some ideas of paintings to do and, in the meantime, I'll be reading and studying the book "Painting People in Watercolor - a Design Approach" by Alex Powers. It's about painting portraits with great ideas on design and about "lost edges" and how to use them effectively.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Final Faces for February

I'm so happy to have completed "29 Faces"!  I thank the ladies who posed for my camera and hope that they enjoy their portraits.  If not, I'm so sorry - I tried very hard but was limited in both time and the restrictions of the paper. I would like to keep this portrait journal for a year, but if any of the ladies would like to have their portrait - they are most certainly welcomed, just let me know.

Theresagram - Watercolor
This is one of the Arizona ladies who helped host Artzona.  She's a lady who is beautiful inside - out and who has so much graciousness and generosity of spirit. I have a certain "Rosemary's Baby" card from her and it's "sick" in the best way!

HotMommaRama - Watercolor
Another of the Arizona ladies, she's the Queen who had this idea of "If you build, they will come!" for Artzona.  It's become so popular, she had to put a limit of attendees and if you lose your spot, there's another artist right there waiting to take your place!   I asked her to pose and she gave me this wonderful expression - she's a fun person to paint!

Jensaz - Watercolor

Another of the Arizona ladies, Jensaz is a gifted mixed media artist and her dolls are fabulous!  She and her sister kept us all entertained with their funny bickerings!

Gordionknot - Watercolor
This artist, also hails from Arizona, is a very dedicated art teacher and artist.  Everything she had on, she made. She dyed the shirt she had on, made the jewelry she was wearing and she brought incredible art to trade. We drove into town with her and it was fun listening to her childhood stories of Scottsdale and how much it has changed.

Lovefroud - Watercolor
Aside from being very personable and loads of fun, Lovefroud is such a gorgeous lady.  Here she is with her perfect features and no make-up.  I know I didn't really do her justice with her portrait, but maybe another time.

MidnightCreations - Watercolor

You always remember your "first" of anything and MidnightCreations was my very first trade when I joined "ATCs For All".  It was wonderful to meet her in person!

Jazzie - Watercolor

Jazzie is another artist from San Diego, though she's often kept busy with her charge as she works as a live-in-Nanny.  She has some very interesting stories of the Italian family who employs her.  Also, she loves jazz, hence the name Jazzie.  I hope to see her more at our cozy San Diego Art Bashes!

Malala - Graphite

I neglected to take pictures of all the ladies who attended Artzona, some of whom left way too early.  So, for portrait no. 26, here is that brave young lady "Malala".  I admire her courage and she may be the next "Warrior for Peace" which our world needs. I know we're not suppose to do "fan" art, but she is more a humanitarian, rather than a star and so I've  included her anyway.  I can see that I have a tendency to make one eye larger or slightly off and and that I elongate the features, so she looks a bit older here.

ATC Swaps - "Abstract Faces", "Angels", and "Spirit Masks"  Mediums include gouache, watercolor, pens

For portraits 27 -29, I've included cards from recent swaps I'm involved in.  For "Acceptance",  looking away - I blindly drew in the face.  From that, I refined the features and then worked in gouache for super flat saturation.  I let the expression of the face tell me how to name it and she just seems to be all about acceptance with that inner glow of peace. In the "Angel" swap, each of the cards were done in different media. For "Ethereal Angel" I did some prep watercolor spillage and then drew in the angel with micron pen. I usually hate lines and will cover them up.  Not that I have anything against other artists using lines - they are just far better at it than I am.  For this angel, I left the lines on, though it still kind of bugs me.  For "Spirit of the Puma", I again did prep watercolor spillage and drops, but I made them more apparent in the design.  I also used micron pen and only covered up some of it.  In doing the cards for this swap, I had envisioned Native Americans doing the "Ghost Dance" and invoking animal spirits for help.  They're dancing before a large firepit and the shadows of the dancers intermingle with the shadows of the spirits or ghosts.  I received so many nice comments for this card - it just both humbled and delighted me!

Thanks for taking a peek at my blog and Happy Friday!  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I'm doing a lot of "catching up" with all my art trades, I think I'm at the half way point to not feeling so panicky about what is upcoming and due.  That said, a few things had to be put aside and my portrait sketchbook is one of them.  I'm going to really try hard to get all 29 Faces completed in time.  My social life is amped out this month and I really need to go back to my art cave and thrive in seclusion for awhile.

These portraits are really watercolor sketches to familiarize myself to each of the ladies bone structure, skin tone, hair and especially their features.  Some are far more easier to render than others, but they should all be considered quick sketches except, maybe, the last portrait where I spent a great deal more time on it.

Amyfairie - Watercolor
 Amyfairie has such a wonderful style, she would be an awesome figure model for artists who love drawing people with great expressive faces.  I'm especially pleased to have traded with her again this year, I find myself going back and looking at her work over and over.

Rogue Girl - Watercolor

I always thought "Rogue Girl" was a bit of rebel because of her name, but I've learned it's the name of a river nearby her which is still a wonderful name. She is such a sweet lady and I was delighted to have my first trade with her this year!

Jenn - Watercolor
I first met Jenn at my own home for one of my "Art Bashes".  I have a small home and backyard, but she, Nanner, and Leslie were very kind and put up with my humble abode.  However, my overly exuberant, people-loving dog, Roxy, found her Sangria cup and drank it all up.  She was understanding and Roxy had a good sleep after her beach run.  I think Jenn has one of those smiles that light up a room!

Nanner - Watercolor

Speaking of Nanner and not making the right connection with arty names, for the longest time I thought of Nanner as this elderly lady, perhaps with some grandchildren, having fun making art. Well, she sure does have fun making art and it turns out she's this fun-loving, wonderful, hot-blonde who was just recently married.  I look forward to more merry-art-making with her!

Anita M - Watercolor

Anita came all the way over from England to Artzona and she is lovely in person.  I skipped the detail of her dress which was layered with different pink flowery fabric and looked like something from Nordy's.  It turns out, she just quickly sewed some frocks up for her visit to the States.  It was fun having "Cadillacs" with her and I hope she returns next year.

Riley - Watercolors

This is actually a portrait I did in the Ted Nuttall workshop of my BFF's daughter.  I'm pretty sure she won't be checking my FB page or my blog, I think I'm just a little blip on her radar if she see's me at all.  She's going to graduate this year and this is one of the presents I'll be giving her (and mom) for her graduation! She's is one of my all time favorite young people with that sassy, wry sense of humor!  

Altogether, that makes 18 portraits so far.  I'll probably fudge a bit and stick some of my ATC cards here in case I don't quite make it.  

My bloggie will be closing down early March if I don't figure out how to log in under my original domain user name.  I've looked up everything and tried everything, but I'm in a loop and I've already spent hours trying to solve this problem.  I'll keep trying though, otherwise it's time for another site.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's!

It's been one of the best month's for me, first Artzona, then Cabos San Jose and Cabos San Lucas, and then the workshop with Ted Nuttall.  I always bomb in these art workshops with my art, but after several days of sleeping on everything he said, I'll incorporate a lot of what was taught to us.  What a wonderful man and artist!  I even bought a giclee which happens to be the same painting on the "Watercolor" magazine.  I've learned so much from him about painting transparently and especially what he thinks about when he approaches a subject and how he will paint it.  As I have always believed, you have to have that emotional connection to see the poetry of a person and the need to communicate that in your art.  I can't scan the painting I did in the workshop since it's too big. As soon as I photograph it, I'll post it as one of my "29 Faces".

I came home inspired from the workshop each day and spent some time working on portraits in my sketchbook.  One thing I've learned, is that the next time I do this, I'll buy a special watercolor sketchbook instead of a mixed media.  The paint didn't do what I wanted, so I have these sketchy watercolor portraits.  I just have to accept it and keep moving forward.  So to the ladies I'm painting, I tried very hard to "capture" you, but I struggled with the paper quite a bit and hope you won't hate your portrait.  Here are the portraits for the week:  

Dina54  - Watercolor

I was so happy to meet Dina and have been a long admirer of her artwork for years. Meeting her for the first time, she is lovely in person with gorgeous long white hair and she is serious about doing her art which I respect.

Waterblossoms - watercolor

She was one of my favorite artist to meet!  A wonderful person who shared these beautiful journals of her art.  I covet all of her art all the time and was so happy to trade with her.  I had the best time talking and getting to know her and Art_Junkie.

Art Junkie - Watercolor

Okay, I admit, I have an art crush on this lady - all her art is fantastic!  Aside from her fantastic art, she is a gracious, super intelligent, fun person.  Her dolls are world renown and her Mesa Verde Spirit art is just inspiring.  I kind of cheated and used the photo I took of her last year because she snuck out early before I could photograph her. These days, Art Junkie's hair is a much longer tossle of long waves and curls which I think flatters her.  But I can't fake her hair, so this is her styled "do". 

Bonnie - Watercolor
This is one of my San Diego artist friend who is incredibly prolific and always on the lookout for discarded items on the street when she runs.  She turns it all into re-purposed art and it's all just great. I look forward in learning more about assemblage art.  She and her mom have been in my thoughts a lot lately, she is going through some sad times with the loss of her beloved sister.

Helene - Watercolor

Another one of my San Diego artist friends, I love everything about Helene.  She's quite the adventurer and so inventive and creative, a wonderful cook, and an animal lover in all respects.  She is a beautiful soul and person and I'm lucky to know her! 

It's Valentine's and I'm inspired by Annie Lennox who often writes about her "Soundtracks of My Life" with postings of the band and song - all very touching and you can see how it influenced her own songs. Music, next to art, has always been a very strong, spiritual thing in my life and I think I'm going to do something along the lines of my own "Soundtracks of My Life" except with art.  But the special song for today is the Pretender's "Message of Love" an inspiring song about Love, Love, Love!  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Red In Common

Working in watercolor, my sketchbook has less than the ideal paper for this medium.  I sketched and painted these portraits quickly today and, though, I would love to spend days on each one of them, with the time constraints - it will just have to be a quick study.  I may pick some of these ladies for a do over later.  In honor of Valentine's day soon, I picked ladies who all have the color "red" in common.

For the fifth portrait, I'm so happy to have finally traded art with Debba,  the lady with a beautiful head of red hair and gorgeous eyes!  I wish I could have sat next to her in Artzona just to watch her do her magic with her impressive stash of Prismacolor markers!  Her art is lovely!

Debba - Watercolor
The sixth portrait is Rebecca G., from Alabama, wore a very styling red hat on the last day. I had to snap a photo of her lovely self - some people are beautiful at every age!

Rebecca G. - Watercolor
Red Heart Studios - is a Starbucks mermaid, football-Charger fan loving artist, a girl you can't help but love! I think she's the perfect Valentine portrait with her sweet smile and red heart necklace!

Red Heart Studio - Watercolor

I'll be busy this week with my workshop and won't have time to do sketchbook portraits.  Instead, I'll be posting abstract portraits done on ATC cards from a trade I'm in.  Also, I worked a bit more on Chatty, below.  I really hate blank spaces and had to put some of my own zentangle behind her.  
Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Although I've been on a long vacation, I did start on the 29 Faces   beginning February 1st.  I'm home now catching up on bills, laundry, shopping, appointments and all my recorded shows.  I'm a bit short some faces, but I hope to catch up soon.
I love doing portraits though I'm a bit rusty.  Beginning Feb 10th, I'll be taking a watercolor portrait workshop with master watercolorist Ted Nuttall.  I'll be doing a very special portrait that will be a graduation gift if everything works out.  I wanted to sharpen my drawing skills and thought this project would be perfect. So, while I was out in Mesa, Arizona and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico  I took quite a few pictures of my, most of whom are artists, at both vacation spots.  Aside from a few animals, or made up faces, most of my faces will be of the fun ladies I spent with in January and February 2014.

My first portrait is of a  lady known as "Joy Flower".  I think I elongated her features a bit, but I think I got a fair resemblance. Joyflower has had a very special year, becoming a grandma for the very first time!
JoyFlower - colored pencils
Lost Cities - graphite

The second portrait was done in graphite while watching whales in the Sea of Cortez.  This young, hipster lady is known as "Lost Cities" and is quite the camera collector.  She must have have had 5 cameras hanging off her neck. Some were vintage film cameras and the rest were digital.  She takes beautiful pictures and everyone at Artzona coveted her animal ATCs.  

My third portrait was done on the plane trip returning to San Diego from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  I can see I skewed her features a bit, it must of been the position I was holding my sketchbook, but I still see some resemblance of this sweet lady.  She is a sweet wonderful zentangle artist!

Chatty - Pen (Flowers added later)

My fourth portrait is a present for my friend Mae.  She and I pick an animal each year and throughout the year, we find trinkets and make art with the themed animal of the year.  In lieu of birthdays and holidays, we celebrate "Festivus" sometime at the beginning of the new year.  This year it was the "Lion" and  I'm hoping the next year will be year of the Horse -my Chinese year of birth.

Lion for Mae  7 1/4" x 9 3/4" watercolor

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Heading to ArtZoNa

This coming Thursday, my artist friends and I will be trecking out to Mesa/Scottsdale, Arizona for an art gathering and having fun, fun, fun!  My San Diego arty friends, Helene, Bonnie, Kay and Nancy have been going for the past three years enjoying our time there and coming back filled with inspiration!

I've been trading mail art with some of these ladies who'll be at the gathering since I joined ATCs For All and Illustrated Art Trading Cards back in 2008. I had all but given up on doing any kind of art and was entirely focused on making money and helping my family.  However, I still longed to do art and would dream about going to my own art shows seeing my own paintings there - I'd be filled with wonder and sadness when I awoke.  The sad fact was that I was denying a huge part of myself for nearly 15 years, until I learned about ATCs.  Before too long, I was bringing in my colored pencils (because they're very portable) and cards to work and doing a little art in my office during my breaks.  Of course, if someone walked into my office during the breaks, these little cards could easily be slipped under the key board and I didn't have to explain anything except maybe my pink pencil if someone noticed but that never happened.  That was the business world of high finance and no one there would really understand my expressive need to create, but that was then and this is now.  Because I could do little bits of art to completion, I slowly gained my confidence and truly became better.  I began to draw everyday and now I'm making larger paintings in a variety of mediums and living my dream in the art world.  I've been honored to meet some wonderful artists along the way and truly been touched and inspired by them - from watercolor society, colored pencil society, the art society and all the ATC artists - they've all been a joy!

My process can take several hours making a single ATC card.  I'm not very prolific at all unless I drink tons of coffee - but then the quality may slip down a bit.  So for the last two years, I maybe had only 12 cards to trade at each gathering.  Last year, I  made trades mostly by IOUs.  Many artists kindly traded art with me without me giving them anything but a promise.  I did fulfill the promises, but I swore I would be a little better prepared for the next year.  I may not have something for everyone, but I'm loaded with art.  And, on top of that, I made little copper-winged blingy hearts  which will come my "Orchid" signature card and 3 caramel kiss chocolates!  My little Valentine to everyone.

About 35 ATCs, 2 Tall Cards, 4 Winged Pegasus, 3 Winged Lions, 5 Steampunk heart + 2 Winged Owl hearts, and Copper Winged Hearts for all ('scuse my foot)

40 Copper-winged clay hearts blinged out with copper beads for everyone!

After I come back, I'm flying to Cabo San Lucas with a bunch of girlfriends for 4 days of fun and relaxation. When I return, I will immediately begin two large paintings. Life is so Good!